Monday, May 11, 2015

The Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset On Sale 2016 And The Possibilities!

Photo original
The Rift Kickstarter
In August of 2012 The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was successfully launched on Kickstarter.

As almost everyone knows, Oculus VR, the company that makes The Rift, has taken an incredible journey from a maverick homegrown project to a multi-hundred million dollar juggernaut after being purchased by Facebook in 2014. 


A first look at what the world can expect in Q1 2016.

Now, it appears that the massive investment in providing the company with more brainpower and hardware is paying off. Last week, it was announced that the Oculus Rift will go on sale in 2016 and pre-orders will kick off later this year! After years of only the "development kit" prototype headset being available, a true consumer grade model is actually on the horizon. I plan to pre-order the device because I am excited about the possibilities of combining the Oculus Rift with the Unity Game Engine.

The top 12 virtual reality movies of the 1990s
We were promised "virtual reality" in the 1990s, but the technology just wasn't ready at the time. Poorly implemented headsets, rudimentary graphics, and slow computers made for bad experiences that turned off consumers to the idea of virtual reality, and the concept was shelved for decades.

Now, the industry as a whole and Oculus VR, in particular, is keenly aware of this and they don't want to make the same mistake twice by rolling out a half-baked device.  I am optimistic about The Rift when I see so much excitement and so many industry heavyweights (like John Carmack of Id fame) endorsing the product and saying that this is the real deal.

Beyond the obvious impact on the gaming industry, some other exciting potential applications of the technology include things like:



Controlling Robots

By combining Oculus Rift with the Kinect camera motion tracker researches in NASA made a system allowing for control of a robotic limb by using the motion of the operator's own limbs. According to Gamespot, this system is intended to be used to operate rovers on mars with the Oculus Rift displaying the environment in 3D.

NASA also wants to use a similar setup to control "Robonaut 2" on the Space Station. This robot is designed to work along side humans in space.






Virtual Reality Simulation

When Facebook bought Oculus VR, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had more uses than just gaming in mind for Oculus experiences. According to Live Science Zuckerberg said, "Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home."

Or imagine learning how to pilot a plane with virtual reality Flight Simulation. Here is a video demonstrating Mike Aker's plug-in software for Oculus Rift that make the goggles fully compatible with the X-Plane flight simulator:



EON Sports is revolutionizing the training process for football players by using Virtual Reality to help players get better:






Guided Visualization

3D Interactive Kitchen Design
I have long since used Unity game engine for Architectural Visualization. My clients love being able to walk through spaces before they are built and being able to make informed decisions about the design of their spaces. Click here to see a kitchen interior design that I brought into Unity game engine so that the client could walk through it during the design process. Here is a link to a trade show booth design that I brought into Unity game engine so that the client could walk around in it during the design process.

However, I think the most powerful use for visualization is in medicine. According to the Academy for Guided Imagery using medical visualization can help alleviate symptoms, stimulate healing responses in the body, modify health endangering behaviors, and provide effective motivation for making positive life changes.

Apparently, imagery is the world's oldest and most powerful healing resource, and now some companies are tapping into the transportive ability of virtual reality to help us de-stress and find better health.




39 comments:

  1. You know, I'm really torn on this. I'm so excited about the potential, but I hate (and am leery) that it was bought out by Facebook. If anyone can ruin a technology, suck out all of the creativity, and leverage it as a shameless way of profiting from its customers, Facebook and Mark "The Zuck" Zuckerberg sure can.

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    1. Yes, I know a lot of people that didn't like that. Especially the Kickstarter backers who felt betrayed by that.

      However, I guess anything is possible and it could work out. I think Facebook said 'here's a lot of money, make this work' and that gave Oculus the resources to take it to the next level.

      Now in 2016, we as consumers will have a chance to use it for all it's potential.

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    2. I agree with Brandon and Bryan - Facebook? I can only imagine how he wants to use it for Facebook.
      Curious how much it will cost initially.
      I'm still hoping for a Holodeck.

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    3. Well, Alex, it seems that we are not far from a Holodeck.
      For instance:
      Windows Holographic HoloLens headset
      Virtuix Omni

      Our world is becoming more and more like Star Trek and the Jetsons!
      And truly, I am not worried about Facebook. I think they are providing the resources necessary for innovation!

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  2. Lauren,

    Thank you for linking that article on ABFTS. It further explained the havoc Common Core is wreaking on our young people.

    Also, thanks for stopping by my place and commenting.

    I read your post, but I am so far out of it in terms of this sort of stuff that it was a bit like stepping into another world. Maybe that was the point? This tech will literally help you step into another world??? I'm going to follow but don't expect great comment from me.... until you begin to speak "English." hahahaha.

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    1. Hey Robin,
      Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, your comment on ABFTS seemed to describe that article so well. I'm just glad that people see it and are aware that this is going on.

      Maybe if some of us can keep a clear head then we can influence others... In reality, I think it all comes down to whether or not people are conditioned to feel empowered or powerless and sadly, I think the current Zeitgeist is to feel like a victim. So I am glad that you write posts on your blog that say things like "Life works better when we direct our energy with Intention" because this is empowering and this is the truth.

      BTW, I know what you mean that some of the stuff on my blog is very niche, but I also post cool images and animations that I make. So visit for the original art and ideas!

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  3. now doesn't it just look uber trendy!

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    1. Yes, it is def. all the rage right now!!
      Well... at least for the next few days until the newest trends hit!
      LOL

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  4. That's great news. I've kept an eye out for this for sometime now. Funny enough, one of my earlier books was about the commercial deployment of a virtual reality headset. It's amazing how quickly science fiction becomes science fact nowadays.

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    1. You are so right. Seriously, think about all the sci fi from the past that is reality now.
      Maybe you are familiar with the space-age animated sitcom called The Jetsons? Well, I remember watching that growing up and thinking all their sci fi technology was just fantasy and that I would never use it.
      For example, their telephones were movie screens where they could see each other when they talked.... then lo and behold, Skype came along.
      On the show they had Rosie the robot and then the Roomba was invented.
      I remember a time before cell phones and a time when we used dial-up for internet and I could have never imagined having the internet in my pocket...
      Dream it, become it.

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  5. Coming to your blog Lauren I learn something each time.
    Things I didn;t know about. Thanks for an enlighening post.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I'm glad you come to my blog, Yvonne. Thanks for stopping by.
      I learn something new everywhere I go on the internet!

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  6. It looks so clunky though, as most new tech does when it first comes out. Sure it will go the way of the cellphone and shrink over the next 20 years. It has lots of great potential, but like anything as a downside, as it can also leave people in their own little virtual world and forget real life. Plus I want to make sure it doesn't fry ones brain or something first, so I'll wait for a newer model a decade down the road. And Facebook, pffffft that makes me super skeptical.

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    1. Yes, I also tend to be wary of first generation technologies. However, like with everything, there are risks and rewards. For instance, The game engine that we are building our current game in (Unity 3D) supports The Rift. That is huge to us because it presents the possibility of having a much more immersive game environment and I like that idea!

      What you say about leaving people in their own little virtual world is a risk. BELIEVE ME, I know about that risk.

      However, one of the reasons I wrote this post is to show just a few of the potential benefits (rewards) of this technology like what I list in the post: controlling robots, learning through virtual reality simulation, and guided visualization.... there is even info out there about VR helping people recover from PTSD by using healing experiences....

      As I have said before, I often wonder if we as humans are evolving, and if technology is a part of this evolution. It seems technology could hinder our evolution because it creates so many crutches and makes things too easy to escape in our own little world. HOWEVER, I believe that if we embrace technology we can use these powers for good. For instance, what if computers are being developed so that we, as humans, can think less and live more?

      What if Virtual Reality exists to help us improve our reality?

      If flight simulation can teach a person how to fly a plane, then perhaps, guided visualization with VR may be a way to teach people how to meditate? And perhaps these people will have an epiphany while meditating that changes their life? Or maybe using VR to share other people's reality and help us better understand each other, help us build empathy for others and expand our minds?

      ugh... I could go on and on. Wouldn't it be cool if we could all hang out at cocktail party together and talk about these things?

      .... wait, we could do that! All of us could meet in Virtual Reality.

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    2. haha that is true, lots of potential. Meeting in virtual reality would be fun with people all over the world. It's not quite teleportation but it will do

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  7. It's a Brave New World. And I understand almost none of it, LOL!

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    1. Hahahaah, to Debra's comment. I was gonna write something like that but her comment, is what I was thinking.

      I'm still excited to use my iPod and earbuds.

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  8. ha, I most certainly didn't know of this device as you stated! But wow it does sound amazing. I've always wanted to be submerged in a video game like that but it I've never actually even played one. And my gosh have we come a long way from 90s visuals!

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    1. Caitlin,
      I think you would love the Oculus Rift for some of the reasons I love it. For example, I was just typing to Pat Hatt, what if we [bloggers] all used a Virtual Reality device like the Oculus Rift to meet in Virtual reality? We could have a cocktail party together and instead of typing our conversations we could talk face to face.... er, um "face" to "face"...

      The world could become smaller and we could know each other better and our minds could expand!

      Actually, one use for The Rift relates to your current blog post. What if we use for the Oculus Rift with a treadmill and transport ourselves while we exercise? Here is an article that explains that possibility:

      Bored with exercise machines? One day Oculus Rift could spice things up

      The article states:
      What if modern technology could inject some excitement back into exercise? What if we could trick our brains into rekindling our ancestors' thrill of the chase as we (virtually) run for our lives – all while safely pedaling on a stationary bike? VR could be the answer.

      They even test it:
      We worked out for about half an hour while playing Temple Run VR, and this was far and away the most fun we've ever had while exercising. It's also the least conscious we've ever been of our physical activity during a workout.

      While a typical workout at the gym can feel like a mindless chore, the time we spent in VR was something else entirely. The pedaling made us feel like we were really running through the virtual environment, and the dull grind of working out completely disappeared. There's no time to think about distance, heart rate or calories when you're running through the Himalayas, pursued by hungry yetis.

      -----------------------

      I'm just highlighting the possible benefits of technology advancing so fast!

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    2. ooo! a virtual cocktail party would be fun :) And yes! I always think about that for exercise. It's amazing how much a good song can inspire you to push yourself harder in your workout. I can only imagine what a virtual world would do to it and your quest to run, run, run!!!!

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  9. This sounds so amazing! I loved learning about it and all that it can do. I like the possibilities a lot! Wonderful if it can be used to help people relax. :) It would be so much fun to feel part of a video game. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  10. Almost everyone has heard it except me, I am such a technophobe, LOL.
    It looks very very cool though.
    Lynne

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  11. Oculus VR, looks like a very promising enterprise but with Facebook calling the shots, isn't there a danger it'll become just another expensive curiosity like Google Glass?

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    1. Hey Spacerguy
      You are the third person to mention their concern for Facebook purchasing Oculuc VR. I am not concerned because I see Facebook as a backer with funds that can make things happen.

      However, due to so many comments with this concern I decided to research it a little more and what I found it very encouraging and exciting and I think it deserves me writing a whole new blog post about it in the near future!

      First of all, The Rift and google glass are totally different products. I think Google Glass was not a great idea but I think The Rift is a great idea that just got an injection of $2 billion to make it even greater.

      Also, the people who are really knowledgeable in the field are saying that The Rift is an amazing product. I am interested in using this technology for our current game project.

      However, the very interesting reason why I think Facebook's purchase may be a really good thing is that Facebook may help to make this a whole new platform which could revolutionize how we use technology!

      This idea is explained in this article:
      What Zuckerberg Sees in Oculus Rift
      “Strategically we want to start building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile,” [Zuckerberg] said on a conference call on Tuesday night. Zuckerberg sees the acquisition as part of Facebook’s mission to build the so-called knowledge economy. “There are not many things that are candidates to be the next major computing platform,” he said. “[This acquisition is a] long-term bet on the future of computing.”

      Zuckerberg described his first time using the VR headset as revelatory: “When you put on the goggles, it’s different from anything I have ever experienced in my life,” he said.

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  12. While I think the device sounds amazing. I have to wonder how one goes about using it as if you have to log on somewhere you know your viewing will be monitored by Facebook. I don't participate in Facebook and will not have anything to do with them. Just another big brother...but I did enjoy reading about the technology.

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    1. Truedessa, I completely agree with you about Facebook! I do not have a facebook account, either.
      You would use The Rift by plugging it directly into your own computer like any other external peripheral device. So it is not monitored by Facebook.

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  13. In the last building project that I was involved with, the architect was able to give us fly around views plus taking us through the building--it was incredible. I don't know if I am ready to put on the headset--maybe if I can use it to exercise :)

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    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by!
      This is so interesting to learn that you were working on a building project! I often do fly around views for clients but using a game engine is even better because they are interactive and the client can actually walk around the space and navigate on their own.
      Like I mentioned in the post, I did a kitchen design for a client and when I took the model into a game engine I quickly put a subway tile on an entire wall instead of just the backsplash because I was running out of time and that was the fastest!! My client then walked through the space and LOVED the entire wall made of subway tile and so we built the kitchen with the entire wall tiled.... but this is all before the Oculus Rift, so I imagine walking around in Virtual Reality would take even that up a notch!
      I think using game engines for visualization is the wave of the future!

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  14. Yeah..."virtual reality" in the 1990s... What was the name of that movie with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore... um... (looking it up).... Disclosure (1994). Remember that one? Ouch!

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    1. ;-) Ouch... ha, ha... I do not remember Disclosure very well, so I guess that means it is just another example of bad Virtual Reality movies made in 1990s... but of course that was long before we had the technology to make VR an amazing experience!

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  15. There is an older one... yet... The Looker... The premise is not as ridiculous as it sounds. There was mathematical modeling going on even back then, that became the premise of that film... as to the copyright issues and digital property rights hinted at in that second-rate thriller, they are a lot more relevant today, than in the late 1970's, when that film was released. Virtual reality was not on the scene, of course, but can make that forgotten pearl even more relevant. heh-heh...

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    1. I had not heard of The Looker but the first person I mentioned it to said it was a great film! So, I have to read about it. It sounds like it is definitely a very early example of virtual reality possibilities. The film was ahead of it's time but it was one of the movies that paved the way for the technology to evolve... and that's amazing that it was as early as the 1970s! Wow!

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    2. Looker was an early Crichton film which used a lot of innovative computer graphics, but it failed at the box office and was released with little publicity and little or no fanfare from the studios. Why read about it, see the movie, it's on Netflix.

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    3. You are right! I will watch it on Netflix.

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  16. I think the human-interactive applications are exciting. If this technology can bring people together, I'm all for it.

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    1. Yes, exactly. I think the possibilities are exciting. This will change technology in some way. Like the home game console, or maybe even like the iphone. It could be the next platform.

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